M1 Finance is a largely free investment platform complete with robo-advisors that are ready to do the heavy lifting for you. Are you a beginner or a seasoned investor? It doesn’t matter because the M1 Finance platform is suitable for both, especially those looking to set-it-and-forget-it.
We say M1 Finance is largely free because you have the option of going for M1 Plus. This is a premium plan that unlocks features that are unavailable with the free option. Not to mention, the first year is free! But is it really worth the money from then on? Let’s find out.
What Exactly Does M1 Plus Offer?
M1 Plus does cost you an annual fee after the first year, but it affords investors access to a myriad of features that can take investing a step further. Like the M1 Basic Plan, there are no trading commissions with the Plus plan. You can also trade in the AM and PM, and gain access to smart transfers and custodial accounts.
Smart transfers are something that really stands out with the M1 Plus plan. Smart Transfers is the app’s way of making sure your bills are always covered. It assesses your spending to detect any gaps. If one is detected, Smart Transfer makes up the difference with what’s in your investment accounts.
This feature is definitely helpful, but we would still suggest managing your finances on your own as the AI is not always 100% correct.
For M1 Borrow, the Plus unlocks a lower rate of 2% compared to the 3.5% with the free option, but both require a $,5000 minimum balance.
The features for M1 Spend also extend to checking functions such as cashback options for M1 Spend Visa, ATM fee reimbursements 4 times a month, no international fees when you purchase items and services with your debit card (yay!), and you can send paper checks from the M1 app.
One major difference between the basic plan and the M1 Plus plan is the latter opens up M1 Spend credit functions.
Pros and Cons of the M1 Plus Plan
Pros and cons lists are useful to illustrate what investors can get with the Plus plan from M1 Finance and to really put things into perspective.
- No trading commissions
- Opens up the PM trade window option
- Smart transfers
- Custodial accounts
- Low 2% rate for M1 Borrow
- 1% cashback with the M1 Spend card
- 1% checking APY
- No international fees with debit card purchases
- Send paper checks from the M1 app
- Award reinvestment with M1 Spend credit
- 1st year free
- It will cost you money after the first year
- Owners Rewards Card not available to US territory residents
How Much Does M1 Plus Cost?
After the first year, M1 Plus will cost you $125 annually, which equates to $10.41 a month. When you break it down like that, 10 bucks a month doesn’t look too bad, especially since what you get back greatly outweighs the cost.
However, this is only true if you actually need the added functions, which leads us to the next section. We’ll also mention that most other banking institutions and online platforms similar to M1 Finance usually only offer a 30-day free trial, so the value of the platform’s 1 free year is immense.
Who is M1 Plus For?
The M1 Plus plan is undoubtedly beneficial, but more so if you fit certain criteria.
Travelers and Shoppers
M1 Plus is excellent for frequent shoppers, especially those who like to spend their hard-earned cash during annual vacations. Online shoppers and those who use their debit cards can earn cashback and enjoy zero international fees.
If you’re someone thinking of moving your savings to M1 Finance, the interest rate is appealing and enough to make a difference over time. You may think that 1% isn’t a lot, it’s surprisingly higher than what many banks offer.
M1 Plus unlocks a lot of features the M1 Basic free plan does not, such as the M1 Spend credit feature. It also allows investors to take advantage of the M1 Borrow function at a much lower rate.
We find that most beginners do not gravitate toward M1 Plus unless they are looking to integrate their finances with M1 Finance or the extra features make sense for their lifestyle. Why is this? It’s because M1 Finance already offers many of its features in the Basic plan that won’t cost users an extra penny. Why not make full use of something free if you don’t need cash back, M1 Borrow, and Spend credit?
The free first year of M1 Plus is a very generous gift from M1 Finance. It allows investors to really get a feel of what they can do with the plan and how it will benefit them. Although the plan may make more sense for some people, why not give M1 Plus a try at no cost to you? After all, a lot can change in a year.
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